The Washington durable power of attorney (durable POA) is a legal document one party, called the principal, uses to authorize another party, called the agent or the attorney-in-fact, to act on their behalf and represent them before governmental, financial, medical, or other institutions and third parties.
The main feature of a durable power of attorney is that it remains valid and effective even if the principal becomes incapacitated.
The principal can use the Washington durable power of attorney in every situation when they are not able to personally complete a certain action or make a certain decision due to their disability, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or simply because they are located far from a place where they have to take a certain legal action.
Durable Power of Attorney Laws & Requirements in Washington
Laws & Requirements
Relevant laws: Title 11, Chapter 11.125 - Uniform Power of Attorney Act
Signing requirements: The principal must sign the durable power of attorney before at least two witnesses and a notary public. (RCW 11.125.050)
Statutory form: The Washington legislation doesn’t provide the statutory form for the durable power of attorney. However, they provide the terms that should be used in RCW 11.125.020.
“Durable” as defined by the state law: RCW 11.125.020(2) provides that “Durable,” with respect to a power of attorney, means not terminated by the principal’s incapacity.
How to Fill out a Durable Power of Attorney in Washington
#1. Designate an Agent
Firstly, you should determine the person who is going to represent you and act on your behalf. That person should be of legal age and have the legal capacity to act as your agent. Moreover, it should be a trustworthy person, especially if you are planning to authorize them to make decisions about your health care or finances.
In some situations, when you need to deal with legal or tax-related matters, you should choose a licensed professional as your agent. It can be a tax advisor, an accountant, a lawyer, or some other relevant professional.
#2. Grant Authority
Once you have determined your agent, you should define their scope of authority.
The Washington durable power of attorney form provides three ways to determine your agent’s scope of authority:
Scope of Authority
General authority. This option enables your agent to take all the necessary actions and represent you before any third party as your agent. You can limit the general authority by providing a list of activities that are not included in your agent’s scope of authority.
Partial authority. Here, you can select the activities that you want to include in your agent’s scope of authority from the list of activities provided in the Washington durable power of attorney form.
Special authority. This option gives you the flexibility to define your agent’s scope of authority in your own words. In this way, you can include the activities that are not provided in the Washington durable power of attorney form.
#3. Ensure the Form is Durable
In Washington, the power of attorney is not considered durable by default. This means that you must use specific language to indicate the durability of your power of attorney.
#4. Sign the Form
The principal or another person in their conscious presence must sign the Washington durable power of attorney. Additionally, a notary public and at least two witnesses must acknowledge the signature.
#5. Notarize the Form
In Washington, the durable power of attorney must be notarized. By notarizing the durable power of attorney, the notary public will acknowledge the authenticity of the document and prevent any future disputes in this regard.
#6. Store Your Durable Power of Attorney Form
After drafting and signing the durable power of attorney, you should keep the original copy in your possession.
Additionally, you can give one copy of the document to the agent so they can prove their capacity to the third parties they are interacting with as your agent.
How to Revoke a Durable Power of Attorney in Washington
You can revoke the Washington durable power of attorney by making a verbal or written revocation, destroying the document with the intention of revoking it, or issuing a new power of attorney that will revoke the old one.
However, the most efficient way to revoke the Washington durable power of attorney is to issue the revocation letter. This letter should include the agent’s full name and the issuing date of the power of attorney you want to revoke.
To make the revocation effective, you should give a copy of the revocation letter to the agent and to every third party the agent is interacting with on your behalf.